Planets, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

Meet the Author, Chris Palma

Dr. Chris Palma

My name is Christopher Palma, and I have a great interest in astronomy. My passion for studying space began when I was in elementary school and continues today. I grew up in New Jersey, but made my way to Pennsylvania to start formally studying astronomy and astrophysics as an undergraduate at Penn State in 1990. What won me over to Penn State was a brochure they sent to prospective students pointing out that Penn State at the time operated the largest telescope east of the Mississippi. At that time, my knowledge of astronomy (and meteorology) was pretty basic, and I had no idea that central Pennsylvania is a pretty awful place for an observatory, given our fraction of nights with clear skies. I did get to spend one night at Penn State's Black Moshannon Observatory on one of our few clear nights, and after four years, I graduated with my bachelor's degree in both Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics in 1994. After leaving State College, I moved to Virginia and completed a Ph.D in Astronomy at the University of Virginia in 2001. My research expertise is in the field of observational astronomy, specifically in the study of the globular cluster and dwarf galaxy satellites of the Milky Way. I have authored or co-authored over 19 articles in refereed astronomy journals, mostly on the topic of the interaction between the Milky Way Galaxy and these satellite star clusters and galaxies. I have a wide interest in all areas of observational astronomy: for example, I have also studied the most powerful galaxies in the universe and discovered what was the second largest active galaxy known to exist (it recently got demoted to third largest).

I am currently serving as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Students in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State. Prior to this, I was a Teaching Professor and the Associate Department Head for the Undergraduate Program in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the Penn State University Park campus in State College, PA.